Platform-to-Business Regulation on promoting fairness and transparency for business users of online intermediation services
Regulation (EU) 2019/1150 on promoting fairness and transparency for business users of online intermediation services (Platform-to-Business or P2B Regulation) has been directly applicable in all Member States since 12 July 2020.
The aim of the Regulation is to create appropriate transparency, fairness and effective redress possibilities for business users of online intermediation services and corporate website users in relation to online search engines.
Businesses affected by the Regulation
This Regulation applies to online intermediation services and online search engines provided, or offered to be provided, to business users and corporate website users that have their place of establishment or residence in the Union and that, through those online intermediation services or online search engines, offer goods or services to consumers located in the Union, irrespective of the place of establishment or residence of the providers of those services.
Business user means any natural or legal person that, through online intermediation services, offers goods or services to consumers for purposes relating to its trade, business, craft or profession.
Online intermediation services are services that meet all of the following requirements:
- they constitute information society services within the meaning of point (b) of Article 1(1) of Directive (EU) 2015/1535 of the European Parliament and of the Council
- they allow business users to offer goods or services to consumers, with a view to facilitating the initiating of direct transactions between those business users and consumers, irrespective of where those transactions are ultimately concluded
- they are provided to business users on the basis of contractual relationships between the provider of those services and business users that offer goods or services to consumers.
Online search engines are digital services that allow users to perform searches on the basis of a query on any subject in the form of a keyword, phrase or other input, and return results in the form of links where information related to the requested content can be found.
Mandatory content in terms and conditions
The Regulation requires providers of online intermediation services to offer terms and conditions that:
- are drafted in plain and intelligible language
- are easily available to business users at any time
- include a statement of reasons detailing the objective criteria according to which a provider decided to restrict, suspend or terminate the provision of its online intermediation services.
The terms and conditions must also include the following, among other provisions:
- a description of the main parameters used to determine ranking including the possibility to influence ranking against remuneration
- a description of any differentiated treatment which the provider itself or any other business users gives in relation to goods or services offered through those online intermediation services
- access to data
- grounds for any restriction of the ability of business users to offer the same goods and services under different conditions through other means
- information about an internal complaint-handling system
- information about mediation procedures.
Furthermore, the European Commission encourages providers of online intermediation services, for instance, to draw up codes of conduct that contribute to the proper application of this Regulation.
For further obligations and the full text of the P2B Regulation, please refer to the relevant site on EUR-Lex here.
AFCA granted right to take action in case of breaches
Since 10 September 2020 the Austrian Federal Competition Authority (AFCA) has held the right to take action to stop or prohibit any non-compliance by providers of online intermediation services or by providers of online search engines with the relevant requirements laid down in the P2B Regulation. In addition to the AFCA, the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber and the Austrian Association for Protection against Unfair Competition were also granted a right of action.
If you wish to submit a complaint, please e-mail AFCA at wettbewerb[at]bwb.gv.at.